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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Feb 17;106(7):2153-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0812939106. Epub 2009 Jan 22.

The Paf1 complex is required for efficient transcription elongation by RNA polymerase I.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL 35294-0024, USA.


Regulation of RNA polymerase I (Pol I) transcription is critical for controlling ribosome synthesis. Most previous investigations into Pol I transcription regulation have focused on transcription initiation. To date, the factors involved in the control of Pol I transcription elongation are poorly understood. The Paf1 complex (Paf1C) is a well-defined factor that influences polymerase II (Pol II) transcription elongation. We found that Paf1C associates with rDNA. Deletion of genes for Paf1C subunits (CDC73, CTR9, or PAF1) reduces the rRNA synthesis rate; however, there is no significant alteration of rDNA copy number or Pol I occupancy of the rDNA. Furthermore, EM analysis revealed a substantial increase in the frequency of large gaps between transcribing polymerases in ctr9Delta mutant cells compared with WT. Together, these data indicate that Paf1C promotes Pol I transcription through the rDNA by increasing the net rate of elongation. Thus, the multifunctional, conserved transcription factor Paf1C plays an important role in transcription elongation by Pol I in vivo.

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